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Livability

Livable communities are healthy, safe, and walkable, with transportation choices for timely access to schools, jobs, services, health care, and basic needs. They are what attracts residents and businesses to our region. GO TO 2040 addresses livability factors that offer residents a "sense of place."

They provide opportunities for residents to participate in recreation, the arts, and local government. CMAP's work plan emphasizes the following livability topics:

Livability Updates

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April 21, 2015

Stormwater utilities for local governments

Communities in the Chicago region face increasing challenges in managing stormwater, but funding for capital improvements is scarce.  The Value of Stormwater Utilities for Local... Read More About Stormwater utilities for local governments
April 21, 2015

Updated community snapshots

All Community Data Snapshots were updated in March 2015 with new information from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2009-13 American Community Survey.  The snapshots summarize demographics,... Read More About Updated community snapshots
April 14, 2015

Model water use conservation ordinance

Recommendations from GO TO 2040 and Water 2050 emphasize the importance of water use conservation in all sectors to maintain the demand at levels that are comparable to supplies. ... Read More About Model water use conservation ordinance
April 7, 2015

Input from municipalities can help improve State Revolving Fund

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and MPC are exploring ways to improve access to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) for water and wastewater... Read More About Input from municipalities can help improve State Revolving Fund
April 7, 2015

April Water 2050 Regional Forum

CMAP, in partnership with the Metropolitan Planning Council, will host the next meeting for the Water 2050 Regional Forum on April 16, 2015, at 10:15 a.m. at CMAP offices (233 S. Wacker Drive,... Read More About April Water 2050 Regional Forum
April 7, 2015

Access CMAP data with new online portal

The CMAP Data Hub provides partners with information and data relevant to planning in the seven-county metropolitan region.  CMAP uses demographic data to prepare forecasts of population... Read More About Access CMAP data with new online portal
April 7, 2015

Video tour of Bloomingdale Trail

CBS Chicago featured a video tour of the Bloomingdale Trail, the 2.7 mile centerpiece of "The 606" network of parks and trails.  Construction on the trail is ramping up in advance of the... Read More About Video tour of Bloomingdale Trail
April 7, 2015

Future Leaders in Planning

CMAP's Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) program introduces high school students to urban planning through a one-week summer program.  The FLIP program connects students with planners,... Read More About Future Leaders in Planning
April 7, 2015

Metropolitan Planning Council "Building Resilience" roundtable

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will host the second roundtable in its Building Resilience series, on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Read More About Metropolitan Planning Council "Building Resilience" roundtable
March 31, 2015

State of Illinois FY15 Budget Modifications Approved

A Policy Update describes legislation intended to close gaps in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2015 by sweeping $1.3 billion from various special funds and applying a 2.25 percent reduction in... Read More About State of Illinois FY15 Budget Modifications Approved
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The cumulative choices of 284 municipalities and seven counties determine quality of life and economic prosperity across our region. With local autonomy over land use comes the responsibility to consider how those decisions shape a community's livability, including how they affect neighboring communities and the region as a whole. As a region, we need to implement policies and investments that make livability the highest priority.
 
Livable communities are created through effective planning and decisions by local officials, developers, and individual residents. Therefore, one of GO TO 2040's highest priorities is to promote comprehensive planning in communities across our seven counties. This includes not only land use and transportation planning, but also planning for future housing supply and demand, and ensuring that local zoning ordinances are aligned with local plans. 
 
GO TO 2040 also recommends the use of green techniques for new development and redevelopment to improve energy efficiency, while also helping to reduce water consumption and improve stormwater management. Though we live in an area where fresh water seems abundant, our water is not a limitless resource. Over the next 30 years, water and energy resources will likely become more limited, affecting residents, businesses, and local governments alike. Improving our water and energy efficiency will save money and head off shortages that could profoundly affect our quality of life.
 
Residents in livable communities tend to make fewer automobile trips, which will reduce fuel consumption and pollution from transportation, our region's second greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions—mostly from cars and trucks. When residents are able to live near their jobs, it helps to reduce travel costs, pollution, and congestion. Efficient use of land that supports walking, bicycling, and access to transit also reduces energy consumption—saving money for individuals, communities, and the region. 
 
A century ago, Daniel Burnham understood that parks and open space were central to the region's quality of life and environment when developing the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which led to the network of parks, forest preserves, and lakefront areas that we now enjoy. Today, that network must grow along with our region through planned investments in a regional network of "green" infrastructure corridors that connect our parks and open spaces. The GO TO 2040 plan also calls for us to strengthen our region's food systems. Illinois has some of the most fertile soils in the country.  While Illinois farmers grow only six percent of the produce consumed in the state, we could grow much more. 
 
Our region faces significant obstacles to achieving livable communities. At present, many of us have no choice but to drive because our communities were designed primarily for car travel. Often residents live long distances from where they work because jobs and housing in our region are far apart. Too many communities lack access to parks and healthy food. And rapid consumption of land and other natural resources contributes to environmental problems across the region. By committing to achieving livability, local communities can help to create a more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive region. 
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